‘I want to give my kids the opportunities I had growing up’

Me & My Money: Hilary Hughes, owner, Brand Stories with Hil

Are you a saver or a spender?

I love spending money. I’ve always felt safe enough that I have the ability to bring in money so I’m happy enough to spend.

Do you shop around for better value?

Not really. I’m the queen of convenience, so I will purchase what is local to me so I can have it straight away or what can be delivered the fastest.


What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

I spent €20,000 travelling around the world for a year with my friends, but we backpacked and stayed in hostels, drinking cheap beer. I’ve no problem spending money to see the world, but I wouldn’t be into spending big money on designer handbags or shoes.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

Definitely my camera. I shoot with a 5D Mark II and while I spent a bit on it, it’s one of the best investments I ever made. It has been my trusted companion on many trips to the likes of Kenya, Columbia and Vietnam, where I have been able to capture some incredible memories.

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

I have done a lot of online shopping as I have been pregnant twice during Covid and I’ve been extra cautious about being out and about. However, most local stores now have online shopping, so I can feel good about supporting Irish businesses but doing it from the comfort and safety of my home.

Do you haggle over prices?

If I was buying a few items in a commercial store with a high spend on them, I’d have no problem asking for something small to be thrown in. When I bought a new laptop recently, I said ‘you may include a new mouse with that now’ – and they did! If I was purchasing a service or buying something from a small local supplier, however, there is no way I would haggle.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?

The big stop for me was flights as I’ve always travelled a lot. In the 12 months prior to Covid, my partner and I had gone to New York, Costa Rica, Columbia, Paris, Amsterdam and Iceland. The other standout change for me, even though I wasn’t negatively impacted, is that it reaffirmed how important it is to have multiple income streams. Having more than one income stream serves as a bit of a safety blanket, which Covid has shown us we all need.

Do you invest in shares?

It has been an option for me in several companies I have worked for, but I’ve never really bothered with it.

Cash or card?

Card, for sure, or Apple Pay.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

My most recent big purchase was renovating my photography studio in Kilkenny. It was an investment in my business for the future. Having a professional studio will enable me to book more clients so I’m confident I will get the return on the investment.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Yes. Myself and my partner have recently saved a deposit to build a new family home in Kilkenny. We had our house designed by a local architect, got planning no problem, and can’t wait to start the build.

Have you ever lost money?

Nothing to cry over.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

Not really. The most I’ve ever bet is €20 on a horse in Cheltenham.

Is money important to you?

I would say it is. I want to be able to provide for my family and continue to travel the world and give my kids the opportunities I had growing up, all of which I need money to do.

How much money do you have on you now?

Less than €100. I don’t really use cash, but there are a few places locally that don’t take cards so I carry a bit of cash.


in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea